The Xtreme Eating Awards, put out annually by the folks at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, aims to point out that some of the stuff you order at a restaurant — even things that might sound like they aren’t loaded with calories — can be hiding calories, fat and sodium underneath layers of dressing, sauce and chocolate.
Without further ado, here is the list:
The Bistro Shrimp Pasta from The Cheesecake Factory: Shrimp, tomato, arugula… so far, so god. And yet, when you factor in the 3.5 cups of pasta, the butter-and-cream-sauce and the fact that the shrimp are battered and fried — it adds up to a whopping 3,120 calories and 89 grams of saturated fat. According to the CSPI, that’s the equivalent of three orders of Olive Garden’s Lasagna Classico plus an order of Tiramisu.
Chicken Costoletta from The Cheesecake Factory: Another high-calorie wonder from the factory. It may be chicken breast with mashed potatoes and asparagus. But it’s also three pieces of breaded and fried chicken, and 3/4 of a pound of mashed potatoes with butter and cream. That means the dish comes in at 2,610 calories, 89g of saturated fat, and 2,720mg of sodium. The CSPI says this is the equivalent of eating an entire KFC 12-piece Original Recipe bucket (2,550 calories), except that the KFC has less than half the saturated fat.
The Veal Porterhouse at Maggiano’s: It’s not just the 18 oz. hunk of veal that accounts for all the 2,710 calories, 45g of saturated fat, and 3,700mg of sodium in this meal. It’s also the half-pound of roasted, fried, and garlic-buttered Crispy Red Potatoes that come with it. “You’d be better off eating four Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pepperoni Pizzas,” writes the CSPI.
The Chocolate Zuccotto Cake at Maggiano’s: After polishing off the veal, you can chow down on this dessert, with only 1,820 calories, 62g of saturated fat and 26 teaspoons’ worth of sugar. “Few would consider eating an entire, eight-serving Entenmann’s Chocolate Fudge Cake,” writes the CSPI, “Yet a slice of [this dessert] is roughly equivalent.”
The Country Fried Steak & Eggs combo from IHOP: Sure, starting the morning off with deep-fried steak with gravy, two fried eggs, deep-fried potatoes, and two buttermilk pancakes sounds reasonable, but at 1,760 calories, 23g of saturated fat, 3,720mg of sodium, and 11 teaspoons of added sugar, the CSPI says you might as well eat five McDonald’s Egg McMuffins sprinkled with 10 packets of sugar.
The Bacon Cheddar Double Burger at Johnny Rockets: Just the burger alone comes in at 1,770 calories, 50g of saturated fat, and 2,380mg of sodium. But you have to have fries, so Johnny’s Sweet Potato Fries throw on another 590 calories and 800 mg of sodium. Wash that all down with a Big Apple Shake and you’re talking about a meal with around 3,500 calories, 88g of saturated fat and 3,720mg of sodium. Per the CSPI, that’s the same as eating 3 McDonald’s Quarter Pounders with Cheese, a large Fries, a medium McCafé Vanilla Shake, and 2 Baked Apple Pies.
The Deep Dish Macaroni & 3-Cheese at Uno Chicago Grill: Think of this like homemade mac & cheese — to the extreme! It’s got four cups of pasta, three cheeses, and an Alfredo sauce made from heavy cream, cheese, rendered chicken fat, and butter — all topped with a crushed Ritz Cracker topping. Sounds good, but you’ll gobble up 1,980 calories, 71g of saturated fat, and 3,110mg of sodium. Might as well eat a whole Family Size box of Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese (with half a stick of butter melted on top), says the CSPI.
The Full Rack of Baby Back Ribs with Shiner Bock BBQ Sauce at Chili’s: These ribs — made with a sauce containing Texas’ Shiner Bock Beer — will go a long way toward packing some girth around your ribs, with 1,660 calories on their own. But they also comes with a side of Homestyle Fries (400 calories) and Cinnamon Apples (270 calories). So if you eat it all, you’re talking about 2,330 calories, 45g of saturated fat, and 6,490mg of
sodium. For all that, you could eat two Chili’s 10 oz. Classic Sirloin Steak dinners (each with Loaded Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Broccoli), with a 10 oz. Classic Sirloin Steak on the side.
The Peanut Power Plus Grape Smoothie from Smoothie King: For some reason, smoothies have this aura of being a healthy beverage. But this drink, which combines peanut butter, banana, sugar, and grape juice, comes in a 40-oz. large size that has 1,460 calories and 22 teaspoons of added sugar — on top of the 17 teaspoons of naturally occurring sugar in the grape juice and the 12 teaspoons of sugar coming from the banana and nonfat milk.